Unhallowed Eve


Written for the "Discovered in the Fallen Leaves" challenge on the discoveredinalj livejournal community.

The veil between worlds is thin tonight.

I stand here, poised on the brink of what is and what could be: unable to go forward, unwilling to retreat.

Off in the distance, I hear the bright, excited chatter of children clamouring for their treats. I see a merry parade of glittering torches, costumed revellers circling like excited fireflies around a cheerful bonfire. I smell the tantalizing scent of baked potatoes and autumn leaves...

But the fire that rages before me is rank with petrol fumes and burning flesh. Black smoke dances and curls, the inferno's wicked cackle mocking the efforts of those who would subdue it. My eyes burn with fear and desperation as I strain against the arms that hold me back from what has become a funeral pyre.

The door to hell gapes open wide before us, awash with flame.

Somewhere, someone is screaming...

With a fine detachment, I realize the voice is mine. And my anguished cry resolves itself into one word, one single word, repeated over and over again in hopeless, wracking sobs.

"Ray... Ray... "

It wasn't supposed to end like this. He should be standing by my side: auburn curls a crooked halo dangling in his eyes; great, comical patches of soot lingering on his nose. He should be making rude comments about Cowley and the bloody IRA. My fingers should be reaching out to tame that wild hair and gently wipe those smudges away.

I imagine him leaning into my hand, his cheek a perfect fit in my cupped palm. The sudden blaze of desire in his green eyes would surely put a fire's glow to shame.

They say it's quick. The smoke gets to you long before the fire does. Quick... and painless. Please God, make it painless...

Let the pain be mine alone to bear.

"It's over, lad."

No, it will never be over. It never will be. The love, the laughter, a thousand sweet and secret dreams have vanished like a wisp of smoke in an errant breeze. The ghost of a kiss that never was lingers on my lips; my aching arms reach out, embracing the empty air.

The veil between worlds is thin tonight.

But not thin enough that I can step through.

And never thin enough for him to come back to me.

-- THE END --

October 2007

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